Editor’s note: This story corrects Sister McManamon’s title. We regret the error.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It was a historic evening in downtown Youngstown as two central figures in the American Civil Rights movement were together in the same room. They were at the Tyler History Center for the Simeon Booker Award for Courage. One was an honoree and the other was there for support.
Sarah Collins Rudolph was injured in September 1963 when 19 sticks of dynamite exploded at Birmingham Alabama’s 16th Street Baptist Church. It was one of the turning points of the Civil Rights movement.
Her sister, Addie Mae Collins, was killed while helping her friend, Denise McNair, who also died.
“Denise walked over to my sister and asked her to tie the sash on her dress. By the time she reached her hand out to tie it, that’s when the bomb went off,” said Collins Rudolph.
Tuesday evening, Collins Rudolph became a recipient of the Simeon Booker Award for Courage sponsored by Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past.
In the same room was Minnijean Brown-Trickey, a previous Booker Award winner, who was one of the Little Rock Nine. In 1957, she helped integrate the all-white Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas.
“It’s a moving, moving experience for me to be here, and I’m honored to be with her,” said Brown-Trickey.
On the third floor of the Tyler History Center, Collins Rudolph dined with some of the people honoring her, few noticing her prosthetic right eye that she lost in the bombing — an eye that won’t let her forget.
“When I look in the mirror and see that I have a prosthetic, I can’t do nothing but remember,” said Collins Rudolph.
Collins Rudolph and Brown-Trickey had met before and when they first saw each other Tuesday evening, they exchanged warm smiles.
Brown-Trickey was surprised that Collins Rudolph had been speaking of her experiences for only four years.
“So as a society, we ignored her for 45 years, and that brings to mind the issue of what we’re going to teach our young people, how we’re going to teach it and how some people don’t want us to teach it,” said Brown-Trickey.
Also honored Tuesday evening with a Simeon Booker Award for Courage was Humility of Mary Sister Ann McManamon for her work as director of Youngstown’s Dorothy Day House.